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Dr. Cole to present research on wintergreen and caffeine on February 21

ISSUED: 7 February 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Faculty Research Forum will present a lecture titled “Wintergreen and Caffeine: Small Molecule Analysis” by Dr. Jacquelyn Cole, assistant professor of chemistry, on Thursday, February 21, at 4 p.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Cole is using a variety of analytical instruments in the chemistry department to study wintergreen essential oils to determine what chemicals are present in the samples. Wintergreen, known as a sweet mint flavor, is primarily made up of methyl salicylate, which, like its sister molecule aspirin, is toxic in high doses. Cole is in the process of determining if individual samples are mostly methyl salicylate and at what concentration it is present. In addition, she has been working on a project to quantify the caffeine levels in the Potomac River. Caffeine concentrations are often an indicator of the effectiveness of wastewater treatment, and she is using the Potomac for the study because it is the source of drinking water for many cities and towns.

Before coming to Shepherd, Cole worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and as a postdoctoral researcher at the New York State Department of Health in Albany, New York. She attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, for graduate studies. Her work has focused on bioanalytical chemistry using mass spectrometry, including studying proteins, hormones, and aptamers.

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